2019 Preservation Awards: Post and Beam Brewing

With partners: Town of Peterborough; Monadnock Economic Development Corporation;
Native Construction, LLC; and Digz Excavating.

This 1837 building was home to The Peterborough Academy and later served as meeting hall for Civil War veterans, an American Legion post, and a teen center. After an extensive renovation that protected its architectural significance, the building now houses a popular gathering place in Peterborough, Post and Beam Brewing.

This 1837 building was home to The Peterborough Academy and later served as meeting hall for Civil War veterans, an American Legion post, and a teen center. After an extensive renovation that protected its architectural significance, the building now houses a popular gathering place in Peterborough, Post and Beam Brewing.

Peterborough’s G.A.R. Hall began its life in 1837 as The Peterborough Academy, the first organization for higher education in Town. After six decades of fluctuating student enrollment, it was deeded to the Town of Peterborough for a meeting hall for Civil War veterans, then a post of the American Legion, and eventually a Teen Center.

After several subsequent owners and then vacancy, Peterborough’s voters gave consent at Town Meeting in 2013 to sell the property with a preservation easement. The building had been well-used in its 175-year life, and citizens – spearheaded by the late Duffy and Rick Monahan – wished for the building to continue its importance to Peterborough’s vibrant downtown.

Enter Erika Rosenfeld and Jeffrey Odland, who purchased the G.A.R. Hall in May of 2017 with plans to repurpose the historic space as a microbrewery. The building’s preservation easement prevented any exterior alteration that would affect its architectural significance and prevented demolition, but Erika knew the moment she walked inside the building that she could transform it into a valuable asset for both their brand and for the community.

The building got much-needed structural repairs, improved ADA access, and a geothermal heating system. Erika did much of the interior renovation work herself, which involved a lot of demolition of layers. With assistance from the Heritage Commission, which holds the easement, Erika adapted some plans and negotiated other interior choices to find balances that met the brewery’s needs and still met the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

The project represented a true community effort with overwhelming support from the Town’s administration and Select Board—including approval of RSA 79-E tax relief—Heritage Commission and townspeople, and countless crowdfunding supporters. And here’s what beer enthusiasts have to say about Post and Beam Brewing: “Ridiculously tasty beers and amazing atmosphere" ; “I love the atmosphere of the remodeled historic building”; and “Great place to pop in and chill while you sample some excellent beer.”

We’ll drink to that. Cheers, Post and Beam Brewing!

2019 Preservation Achievement Award: N.H. Department of Transportation

For the restoration, rehabilitation and stewardship of the Stewartstown Bridge

With partners: N.H. DOT Bridge Design; CPM Constructors Inc.; KTA-Tator, Inc.; Calderwood Engineering; ARC Enterprises; Auciello Iron Work; and Modern Protective Coating

The Stewartstown Bridge, which connects its namesake town to Beecher Falls, Vermont over the Connecticut River, was one of the few remaining metal truss buildings in the state when it was placed on the Preservation Alliance’s  Seven to Save  list in 2008. In 2017, the State of New Hampshire Department of Transportation launched an extensive rehabilitation process that has restored the 1931 bridge to its former glory. (Photo courtesy of NH DOT.)

The Stewartstown Bridge, which connects its namesake town to Beecher Falls, Vermont over the Connecticut River, was one of the few remaining metal truss buildings in the state when it was placed on the Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save list in 2008. In 2017, the State of New Hampshire Department of Transportation launched an extensive rehabilitation process that has restored the 1931 bridge to its former glory. (Photo courtesy of NH DOT.)

Today in New Hampshire, there are fewer metal truss bridges than covered bridges. The alarming rate of their disappearance led to their categorical listing on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save  list in 2008.

But just a half-mile from the Canadian border, a historic two-hinged, spandrel-braced steel arch bridge connecting Stewartstown to Beecher Falls, Vermont, is now restored thanks to the efforts of the N.H. Department of Transportation.

The Stewartstown Bridge was built in 1931, ironically, to replace an 1882 covered bridge. This modernization won an award of merit from the American Institute of Steel Construction as the most beautiful Class C steel bridge in America. Metal bridges are difficult to maintain in New Hampshire due to winter salt exacerbating rusting, however, and by the 2000s, the bridge was red-listed.

Nevertheless, restoration was chosen over replacement, and work started in 2017. Tasks included the complete removal of the concrete deck and asphalt overlay and replacement with a light weight concrete bare deck, select replacement of spandrel bent steel components and installation of additional cover plates on the arches. The work also included removal of obsolete, asbestos-insulated water line from the bridge and replacement of the top portion of the Vermont spill-through abutment, along with repairs to the arch thrust block on the Vermont side.

Additionally, the number of intermediate deck joints was reduced from six to four, and sleeper slabs were incorporated to provide compression seal joints at either end of the bridge that moved the expansion joints to the back sides of abutment back walls.  Significant drainage work was incorporated on both bridge approaches, which reduced the amount of water runoff traveling across the bridge from the very steep New Hampshire approach and reduced the surface water runoff traveling into the intersection just to the north of the Vermont abutment.  

A cosmetic baluster rail system was also incorporated and attached to the tubular vehicular rail to mimic the historic look of the original bridge rail. All metal surfaces were powder coated with the original bridge’s green color to preserve the historic nature of the structure. With this work complete, the 10-ton posting was removed and all legal loads can now be carried on the bridge.

For the non-engineers: the bridge was thoroughly rehabilitated and upgraded. So next time you’re in Stewartstown, be sure to cross the Connecticut over this historic metal bridge and thank the people who restored this special structure.

2019 Preservation Achievement Award: Town of Washington

The 1787 Meetinghouse in Washington has been restored due to the tenacity of local leaders, combined with excellent community outreach, which led to the passage of a $1.281 million bond for restoration and rehabilitation.

The 1787 Meetinghouse in Washington has been restored due to the tenacity of local leaders, combined with excellent community outreach, which led to the passage of a $1.281 million bond for restoration and rehabilitation.

Elizabeth Durfee Hengen Award

 With partners: Milestone Engineering & Construction; Daniel V. Scully Architects; Russell Downing, P.E.; Thayer Fellows, P.E.; WV Engineering Associates, PA; Winn Mountain Restorations, LLC, and Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.

Crews raised the frame of Washington’s iconic meetinghouse on July 4, 1787. Since its completion, the building has served as the civic, emotional and cultural heart of the town.

Originally, when the Washington Congregational Church and town shared the use of the building, the building had a twin porch design, with exterior stairwells connecting the ground floor to the mezzanine on the second floor. In 1825, the bell tower replaced one porch, the church built their own building in 1840, and later in the 19th century, the lower box pews were removed and the building was bifurcated to create an assembly hall on the second floor.  

This second floor space, with its large windows, stage and scenic curtain, served as the town’s favorite go-to public space until it was abruptly closed in 1992 for not being ADA compliant. For decades the town debated the best course of action for the meetinghouse, ranging from restoring the original layout to the construction of a large addition.

Conflicting budget priorities and a make-do attitude stalled progress and in 2014, the meetinghouse was placed on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s Seven to Save list. Fortunately, the tenacity of local leaders, combined with excellent community outreach, led to the passage of a $1.281 million bond for restoration and rehabilitation. After five attempts in five years, the measure finally passed 135 to 26.

The rehabilitation included lifting the building and pouring a new foundation, the replacement of all mechanical and electrical systems, replacing rotted sills, the installation of a new fire protection system, restoration of the main level, and the construction of a rear addition. An LCHIP grant helped restore all of the original windows and fund the purchase of new, better storms. Lastly, a grand finale fundraising campaign raised $225,000 in private contributions to install an elevator and finish bathrooms in the new addition.

The final results are a testament to the persistence and generosity of those who are lucky enough to call this town of 1,100 people home, and to the enduring legacy that this “Sacred Deposit” has in Washington.

Thanks for your support of Historic Preservation in New Hampshire!

An insider tour of this amazing Adirondack-style home and lunch with home owner and preservation specialist Lynne Monroe was one of many special outings offered through the NH Preservation Alliance’s online auction, which ended June 2. We appreciate all of your bids and support for our historic preservation efforts across the state.

An insider tour of this amazing Adirondack-style home and lunch with home owner and preservation specialist Lynne Monroe was one of many special outings offered through the NH Preservation Alliance’s online auction, which ended June 2. We appreciate all of your bids and support for our historic preservation efforts across the state.

This year’s auction featured a great variety of quality experiences, goods and services donated by individuals, businesses and organizations around the state that support the restoration and preservation of New Hampshire’s historic places.

Some of the fabulous experiences that bidders will now enjoy include a night’s stay at the new boutique Hotel Concord, dining and lodging at the Horse & Hound Inn in Franconia and a two-night visit to the Omni Mount Washington in Bretton Woods. Those looking for a special outing with family or friends cast bids for the Portsmouth Harbor Cruise for four or a day trip that includes a carriage ride, tour, and lunch for four at the historic Castle in the Clouds. They all have some great experiences to look forward to this spring or summer.

The online auction provided the chance for children and teens to enjoy a great day of skateboarding with a friend at Rye Airfield Park and two fun-filled weeks of camping at Camp Birch Hill in New Durham. Other great experiences for individuals and families included a barn dance with national treasure Dudley Laufman of Canterbury and a week’s use of a historic bathhouse on the beach at North Hampton.

Those with old barns cast their bids on barn assessments by restoration experts Ian Blackman LLC and Richard Thompson. Another bidder will soon have the chance to host a festive gathering of up to 100 people at Canterbury Shaker Village.

A big thank you to all of our auction donors and participants for your generous and enthusiastic support of historic preservation in New Hampshire! We are deeply grateful to each and every one of you for your role in preserving New Hampshire’s history and heritage.

Do Old Places Matter?

By Thompson M. Mayes, National Trust for Historic Preservation

In 2013, I embarked on a journey both literal and figural. Thanks to support from the American Academy in Rome and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I moved to Rome for six months so that I could investigate a question I had hoped to study for more than a decade: why do old places matter? What difference does it make to people if we save, reuse or simply continue to use old places, or don’t? Do old places enhance and improve people’s lives and, if so, how? While exploring Rome, and the many layers of history embedded in that astonishing palimpsest of an old city, I finally had the great gift of time to try to understand this central facet of both our work and our human experience.

Thompson Mayes is the keynote speaker at the Preservation Conference on Friday, May 31, in the historic North Country town of Littleton, N.H.

Thompson Mayes is the keynote speaker at the Preservation Conference on Friday, May 31, in the historic North Country town of Littleton, N.H.

Why did I embark on this journey? Aren’t the reasons obvious? As someone posted on Facebook in response to one of my essays, “kinda crazy that the question even has to be asked.” I was motivated to explore this topic because I had a sense that people who care about old places—many of whom may not even be conscious that they care until something is threatened or lost—didn’t have ready words to express why old places make such a difference to them and to their communities, even though many of us feel the importance intuitively and often very deeply.

What I found is that, yes, old places do indeed matter, and for more reasons than I thought. From memory and identity, to architecture and history, to beauty and sacredness, to economics and sustainability, old places matter for reasons so numerous, all-encompassing, and essential to who we are as individuals and as a society that their place in our lives is difficult to fully recognize. The kaleidoscopic listing of reasons in Why Old Places Matter suggests just how important older places are. Yet even the essays in the book, which treat the topics singly, can only hint at the totality – the all-encompassing world of meaning that old places have for us. The old places of our lives are like the air we breathe: surrounding us, sustaining us, influencing us, and even a part of us.

By the very nature of the individual disciplines that study place, almost none of them strive to see the whole - the overarching totality of the role old places play in our lives. That’s a key reason why I believe Why Old Places Matter is necessary-to try to get a greater glimpse of the meaning of old places by gathering the individual reasons together. Altogether, the old places of our lives give us, to borrow a phrase from a program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, an Internal Compass that orients us in our lives, and helps us know who, what, where, and sometimes even why we are.

It is my hope that Why Old Places Matter will encourage more people to think about why old places matter to them. I hope it will give people phrases and words to help them articulate and express their deeply-held feelings about the old places of their lives, and that it will help build a stronger ethic of appreciating, saving, and continuing to use old places. But more importantly, if we broaden our understanding of the old places in our communities and our own lives, we may help people lead more fulfilling and richer lives. These places spur our memory, delight us with beauty, help us understand others, give us a deep sense of belonging, and perhaps most fundamentally, remind us who we are.

Thompson M. Mayes is acting chief legal officer and general council for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This essay was excerpted and edited from the prologue to his 2018 book, Why Old Places Matter: How Historic Places Affect Our Identity and Well-Being. Mayes will be the keynote speaker for the 2019 New Hampshire Preservation Conference in Littleton on May 31. His book will be available for purchase there.

Register for the Preservation Conference by May 17th to receive the Early Bird $10 discount. To learn more and register visit: https://bit.ly/2v3py5a

 

Historic Preservation Gains Support at 2019 Town Meetings

Yet more action is needed in New Hampshire to save our endangered places

by Jennifer Goodman, executive director, N.H. Preservation Alliance

At town meetings across New Hampshire this year, citizens voted in favor of historic preservation, approving funds for planning studies and capital funds to research, revitalize and restore community landmarks. These results reflect a growing understanding and appreciation of historic preservation’s vital role in community and economic development.

Several towns voted to invest in properties on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s “Seven to Save” endangered list. These significant and vulnerable places include the Turning Mill Pond Dam in Canterbury, Parish House in Lee and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bartlett.

In Alexandria, Gilmanton and Meredith, town residents approved funding for studies into how to preserve their historic town halls and libraries. In Alton, Ashland, Barrington, Bennington, Bethlehem, Effingham, Fitzwilliam, Grafton, and Wilmot, voters established or added to capital reserve funds earmarked for the restoration of their local historic libraries, meeting houses, town halls and a town-owned country club house.

The state’s newest Heritage Commission was created in Kensington, while Hampton residents voted to re-establish theirs, reversing their 2015 decision to disband it. Voters in Francestown, Loudon and Troy adopted use of RSA 79-E, a tax incentive program that offers tax relief for municipalities to encourage investment in downtowns and historic buildings. While a first attempt to pass 79-E failed in Kingston, nearly 40 New Hampshire towns now offer this tax incentive program.

The Preservation Alliance sees these positive votes as a reflection of the growth in statewide support for saving and stewarding New Hampshire’s special places. As our world feels faster and flatter, long-time residents and newcomers alike are rolling up their sleeves and doing more in their local communities. Part of this trend involves incorporating strategies to preserve old buildings that provide a variety of social, environmental and economic benefits.

The French-Taylor House in Moultonborough was spared from demolition by a town meeting vote in March that was brought forward by the town’s Heritage Commission.

The French-Taylor House in Moultonborough was spared from demolition by a town meeting vote in March that was brought forward by the town’s Heritage Commission.

The repair and restoration of old and historic buildings often draws on local labor and materials, supporting jobs and invigorating local economies. Many older buildings feature energy-efficient designs, with south-facing facades, pitched roofs, and awnings and shutters that accommodate local climate. Conversely, it can take 10 to 80 years to recapture the energy lost when a new building is constructed to replace an old one.

Recent surveys show millennials prefer a mix of old and new buildings in the places where they live, dine and shop. Findings also reveal that heritage tourists – those who seek out cultural heritage destinations – stay longer and spend more than other visitors.

As the state’s only nonprofit organization devoted to leadership, education and advocacy for historic preservation, the Preservation Alliance celebrates this growing interest in preservation. These votes reflect not just fondness for old architecture, but rather, rising recognition that investments in preservation protect local property values and stimulate social and economic growth.

Despite these recent success stories, challenges lie ahead. Changing demographics and land-use patterns in New Hampshire are leaving farms and barns, waterfront properties, churches, meetinghouses and downtown buildings under-used and vulnerable. Suburban sprawl, “new is better” attitudes and intractable parking and complex property issues often lead to the loss of irreplaceable historic assets.

If we are to sustain New Hampshire’s heritage and historic character, more individuals and communities need to step up, explore and invest in pro-preservation actions and policies. The N.H. Preservation Alliance is here to assist community leaders and property owners with coaching, workshops, technical assistance, planning grants, and other services. Working together, we can support the growing momentum across the state toward valuing, investing in and preserving the distinctive character of communities across New Hampshire.

Keep Your Old House in Shape with this Spring Check List

  • Check gutters for winter damage, repair if necessary, clean out gutters, check functionality of downspouts and water discharge area        

  • Evaluate grade around house and improve drainage, and if needed, add downspout leaders to carry the water well away from the foundation

  • Raise/store storm windows, make needed repairs now

  • If unable to keep basement humidity under control with basement windows open, close windows and start dehumidifier: target relative humidity is 50-60%      

  • Check for adequate ventilation in attic, open gable-end attic windows for increased ventilation, remember to insert screens to keep out bats and other unwanted visitors

  • Inspect roof for damage and leaks, a good time to inspect the attic for leaks is when it’s raining·        

  • Check windows, repair any cracked glass and re-glaze and paint where needed ·        

  • Trim all trees and vegetation around house so there is ideally at least 2-3 feet clearance

  • Gently wash dirt and mold growth off wood siding and trim; mild soap and TSP substitute works well on wood surfaces, power washing is not recommended because of potential for water infiltration and damage to wood ·        

  • Closely inspect exterior of house, basement and attic for insect infestation, treat where necessary for carpenter ants, termites and powderpost beetles with non-toxic (to humans and animals) Boracare.

Questions? We here to help! Call the Preservation Alliance at 603-224-2281.

More information and tips at www.nhpreservation.org

Three Civic and Business Leaders Join NH Preservation Alliance Board

 Byron Champlin, Jeanie Forrester and Lorraine Stuart Merrill have joined the board of directors of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

Byron Champlin

Byron Champlin

Champlin is an at-large councilor on the Concord City Council who recently retired after 27 years with Lincoln Financial Group and its predecessor companies. Earlier in his career, he was a reporter for The Union Leader, a communications officer for the N.H. House of Representatives, and a public relations director for Colby-Sawyer College. An independent historian and arts advocate, Champlin has written and lectured on Concord’s role in World War I and has worked to advance the creative economy in New Hampshire.

Jeanie Forrester

 Forrester is the town administrator in Tilton and a selectboard member in Meredith, where she lives. She began her government service in the administration of then-Governor John H. Sununu and served as a New Hampshire Senator from 2010 to 2016. Forrester is the co-owner of Forrester Environmental Services. She was previously the executive director for Main Street programs in Meredith and Plymouth.   

Lorraine Merrill

Lorraine Merrill

 Merrill and her family own and operate a dairy farm in Stratham. She served as commissioner of New Hampshire’s Department of Agriculture for a decade, and 18 years on the USNH Board of Trustees. Also a journalist and technical writer, in 2008 Merrill and collaborators demographer Peter Francese and filmmaker Jay Childs produced a book and documentary titled, Communities and Consequences: The Unbalancing of New Hampshire’s Human Ecology and What We Can Do About It. The trio is currently updating their research and producing a sequel documentary and book.